The food disposal unit was invented in 1927 by John W. Hammes, an architect working in Wisconsin (Racine to be exact). After 11 years of development, his InSinkErator Company put his disposer on the consumer map in 1940.
There are some who dispute Hammes claim, because in 1935 General Electric introduced a garbage/food disposal unit.
In many cities in the United States in the 1930's and the 1940's the municipal sewage system had regulations blocked running food waste (garbage) into the system. InSinkErator spent considerable effort, and was highly successful in convincing many locations to take back these prohibitions.
Many locations in North America mandated the use of disposers. For many years, garbage/food disposers were illegal in New York City because they though the system would damage the city's sewer system. After a 21-month study with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, the ban was taken back in 1997 by local law 1997/071 which amended section 24-518.1, NYC Administrative Code.
In 2008, the city of Raleigh, North Carolina attempted a ban on the replacement and installation of garbage/food disposers which also extended to outer lying towns sharing the city's municipal sewage system, but took back this ban one month later.